Cruise Ships Dump Human waste in Jamaica’s waters
December 12th, 2013
Written by Andrea Williams Green
The Bottom Line is that in this harsh economic climate, we are hard-pressed to tend to the bread and butter issues – how are we going to send our children to school tomorrow, and if we do manage to find the bus fares – where are we going to find the lunch money and/or even the dinner?
The Bottom Line is that we are so locked into this vicious circle of poverty (facilitated by successive Governments) that turning our attention to environmental issues, is for the vast majority of Jamaicans, a colossal waste of time, energy and resources.
But the Bottom Line is that part of this vicious circle of poverty – is the desperation for tourist dollars which drive policies that ultimately sucks us deeper into poverty and depravation and from which we seem unable (or unwilling) to extricate ourselves – as a Nation!
The Bottom Line is that successive Governments in Jamaica have participated in a game of Russian Roulette with the environment, that is guaranteeing the death of the Island through the wild and wanton mining of bauxite; the ill advised production of coal for export (as Jerry Small reminds us); carelessly selling off of our wet lands to Hotels and other Tourism interests who then pump their raw sewage into our rivers, streams and the sea; shamelessly hawking off our coastline and beaches to the highest bidder; and barefacedly facilitating the dumping of cruise ship waste and filth in Jamaican waters.
The Bottom Line is that we MUST pay attention – We MUST pay attention to these environmental issues because one or all of them together ensure our continued poverty.
We MUST pay attention to these issues, because together they are bound to ensure that the children, who we worry about feeding, schooling and generally caring for today, will not be able to survive in a polluted and devastated land and country tomorrow. We cannot continue to tolerate the stench of Cruise Ship waste in our waters and tell ourselves that it is the smell of Money and we will all benefit in the long run.
The Bottom Line is that research has conclusively shown that there is a very strong link between the health of the Ocean and our health, between toxic contamination of the Ocean and our food chain, between the diseases we present with and find so difficult to control and the food we gather from a polluted, contaminated, toxic Ocean.
Pollutants such as PCBs, (Poly cholorinated Bifennel) from Cruise Ship waste, and other garbage dumped four miles off Jamaica’s shoreline are bound to find their way back to our dining tables – through some of our favourite sea food such as lobster, sliced fish, etc and even vegetarians who eat fish are caught in this spiral of consuming food contaminated with deadly toxins, such as DDT, Mercury (heavy metals) and other PCBs.
The Bottom Line is that evidence has shown that consuming these deadly toxins in sea foods can cause all kinds of cancers, nervous system damage, mental disturbance, food poisoning and even death.
The Bottom Line is that the question must be asked whether the sudden surge in respiratory illnesses, fits, the brutish abnormal behaviour of our young people, and the extreme violence being displayed in our society today, might not be attributable in some part to the consumption of a contaminated, toxic diet during their growth and development.
The Bottom Line, is that other countries such as the US, discourage toxic dumping by Cruise ships Lines through the exorbitant fees required for dumping wastes in their waters. While the U.S. has a deterrent to dumping, though extremely high fees, Jamaica may well be a lucrative dumping ground based on the fact that Cruise Ship Lines are charged little or nothing for leaving their human excrement and other garbage in our waters.
The Bottom Line is that the even the Cruise Lines International Association ominously reminds us on their website that “whether we live on the coast or are completely land locked, the state of our oceans have a huge impact on our day-to-day life. Healthy oceans, it says are vital for marine life, oxygen, food, jobs, medicines and much more”.
The Bottom Line is that the even the Cruise Lines International Association gets it – and that is the paradox!
The Bottom Line is that this need for Healthy Oceans also include the Caribbean waters and in our specific case the Jamaican waters, for which we are totally and collectively responsible, as are all countries responsible to ensure that the Marine environment is Healthy, that as Nations we commit to the protection of our environment.
The Bottom Line is that the recent August 2012, video posted by a Boston Massachusetts television station, which shows a huge amount of human excrement, toilet paper, rubber gloves, flip-flops, plastic bottles, dental floss, condoms, personal hygiene items, contraceptives and a urinal cake covered in a mass of disgusting brownish foam, found on a local beach in the quaint coastal town of Nahant, Massachusetts, is just a glimpse of what might be in our Jamaican waters.
It is reported that officials believe that the sewage and garbage were dumped from a Holland America Line cruise ship which sailed off the coast of northern Massachusetts July 2012. The harbourmaster took photos of the debris and found a cruise ship cabin tag amongst the sewage.
The Bottom Line is that with the strict and stringent rules governing Cruise Ship dumping of waste in Americas Waters and the exorbitant charged for dumping, this find is enough to send a thousand red flags up, in Jamaica - and we must demand immediate answers regarding the dumping of waste and filth by Cruise Ships in Jamaica’s coastal waters.
The Bottom Line is that we must ask questions about the practices of Cruise Ship in dumping untreated sewage, how far or near to our shores, in fact, where in our waters are they dumping sewage and other solid waste? We MUST also ask – to what extent are the Tourism and other relevant authorities turning a blind eye to the dumping of filth by Cruise Ships in Jamaican waters and whether there is compliance with all international and environmental guidelines regarding waste and shipment disposal.
The Bottom Line is that International regulations do allow cruise ships to discharge sewage and certain types of garbage at sea. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, its member Ships are mandated to treat sewage on board ships before discharging either at an approved shoreside facility or at sea. The Association says the sewage which is discharged at sea should be done at least four miles from shore and that other solid waste – garbage – is discharged at sea only after being incinerated, grinded, compacted or crushed….but in any case…discharged at sea.
The Bottom Line is that we MUST ask questions regarding the extent to which these mandatory requirements are met by the Cruise Ships coming into our shores.
Jamaica’s dependence on Tourism and the courting of the biggest and grandest of Cruise Ships, means that we are seeing more and more filth, sewage, solid waste, garbage, human excrement, being dumped – four miles? From our shores and no one is talking about it!
Who is holding Crusie Liners responsible for protecting our waters, for protecting our marine life? Who is going to hold these many Crusie Liners which are courted by successive Tourism Ministers to Jamaica for how, when and where they dump their waste? Who is going to talk about dumping of waste in Jamaican waters, when the Machiavellian way in which we court Tourists to Jamaica, means we are only concerned about the head count and tallying the number of US dollars?
The Bottom Line is that as a Nation we are so shell shocked by the heavy burden of poverty and economic stressors, that we think ita waste of time, to pay attention to the issues which impact of our environment BUT
What is dumped in our waters, what is taken out through wild and wanton mining, what exported after our trees are cut down and burnt, will return to haunt our children like the packages of human excrement, rubber gloves, flip flops, water bottles and sewage washed up on the Massachusetts shores….
If we do not stop to ask questions….demand answers…and make changes
That is the Bottom Line